Manga Review: Bakuman V 1 by Tsugumi Ohba &Takeshi Obata

May Contain Spoilers

The library is slowly adding manga to their digital catalog, so I have been borrowing random volumes in hopes that they will keep adding more to the catalog. I was interested in Bakuman because I enjoyed previous series by both creators, and I think the cover is visually appealing. I’m not sure how I feel about this one yet, though.

This is a manga about two middle schoolers who want to make manga. I thought that it would be more interesting, but this was kind of a slag. If the art wasn’t so appealing, I might have put it down. While Moritaka and Akito are likable enough characters, following them around as they dig through old boxes of story boards and final drafts just didn’t do it for me. Maybe after all of the sports manga, I am juiced up on a certain level of action, and I need it, and the sweat drops, to hold my attention.

Moritaka’s uncle was a manga artist. He had one hit series that was even made into an anime, but despite all of his efforts, he failed to have another hit. He died young, of overwork, and Moritaka hasn’t thought much of comics since then. He’d rather spend his free time playing video games.

When he leaves his notebook at school, he races back to retrieve it. He doesn’t want anyone to see the pictures he drew of Azuki, the girl in his class he has a crush on. Akito Takagi, the smartest guy in his class, has his notebook, and he’s not afraid to try to bribe him to work on a comic together. Akito is impressed with Moritaka’s art, and he doesn’t think he’s a bad guy, so he’s decided that they will become manga artists together.

Moritaka refuses at first. But when he learns that Azuki might have a little crush on him too, and that she might agree to marry him if he hits it big, he agrees to draw for Akito. They navigate getting to know each other, learning about the manga world, and researching possible storylines for the rest of the manga. Oh, with the added bonus of having access to Moritaka’s uncle’s work studio.

This just did not hold my attention. There were also too many convenient coincidences to help the newbies along. Neither Moritaka or Akito has a very strong personality, so they made for bland protagonists. The art, on the other hand, is gorgeous. Crisp, clean, visually engaging. I’ll read another volume just for the art, and if the story picks up, hooray!

Grade: 3 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Moritaka is hesitant to seriously consider Akito’s proposal because he knows how difficult reaching the professional level can be. Still, encouragement from persistent Akito and motivation from his crush push Moritaka to test his limits!